Robust Glass-Free Lightweight Photovoltaic Modules With Improved Resistance to Mechanical Loads and Impact

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Martins, A. C.
Chapuis, V.
Virtuani, A.
Ballif, C.
In several countries, building-integrated photovoltaics (PV) solutions could contribute to the growth of total installed PV capacity. However, in some circumstances, the relative high weight (10-15 kg/m(2)) and lack of aesthetics of PV may constitute a barrier to its diffusion. In this work, we propose a glass-free lightweight solution (approximate to 6 kg/m(2)) compliant with hail and mechanical load tests as prescribed by the IEC 61215-2:2016. The low weight is achieved by substituting the conventional glass cover with a polymer multi-layer resistant to hail impacts and the conventional polymer/glass backsheet by an innovative composite backsheet. A total of two module design contributions to impact resistance are highlighted: a global energy dissipation, mostly related to the backsheet properties; and a local energy dissipation, mainly related to the frontsheet properties. These results clearly show that a balance between frontsheet design and backsheet stiffness have to he found in order to maximize hail resistance and mechanical rigidity while minimizing the module''s weight.
Publication Reference
Ieee Journal of Photovoltaics, vol. 9 (1), pp. 245-251, Jan 2019.